Master's Degree in Computer Science Meets Demand for Professionals
Contact Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 6, 2010) – Through 2016, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that five out of the top 15 fastest growing occupations statewide and nationally will be computer related. To help prepare senior professionals in this growing career field, UCM this fall begins offering a new Master of Science in Computer Science degree.
The degree, which utilizes existing faculty and curriculum, was recently approved by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education, and will be offered in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science within the university’s College of Science and Technology. This academic opportunity not only meets a need for trained professionals, but provides an opportunity for many students to pursue a master’s degree in computer science close to home.
“We are proud to be the first Missouri public institution outside the University of Missouri system to offer such a degree,” said Curtis Cooper, a professor of computer science and mathematics who will teach courses in the program.
He pointed out statewide there is a geographic imbalance of graduate degree programs in computer science. Five of the six programs in Missouri are available in the eastern half of the state, and the closest institution to Warrensburg offering a graduate degree is about 60 miles away, Cooper said. He stressed that offering the degree provides affordable access to students who live and work in communities and counties surrounding the university.
According to Xiaodong Yue, associate professor of computer science and mathematics, the program’s focus will be on the preparation of individuals who can apply technology to solve a variety of practical problems. It consists of 33 credit hours to graduate, which includes an 18-credit hour core and two 15-credit hour plans. He said plan A, which is recommended for individuals who want to continue onto doctoral study, requires students to work on a two-semester master’s degree project with a graduate faculty member in the department, plus take nine hours of computer science electives. Students who opt for plan B will take 15 hours of computer science courses and be required to pass a comprehensive examination.
As for the core courses, Yue said, there are six courses which cover the advanced topics in six important computer science areas. Areas covered are algorithms, operating systems, database, computer networking, software engineering and programming languages.
Despite a tough state and national economy, Yue insists the job outlook is good for individuals who want to pursue degrees in computer science.
“The computer industry is one of the fastest growing segments of our economy and that growth promises to continue,” he said. “More than ever, there is a demand for a prepared work force with the scientific and technical training necessary to perform effectively on the job.”
In fact, he noted, the Job Vacancy Survey developed by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Workforce Development and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center shows that 42 percent of METS – mathematics, engineering, technology and science – job vacancies are in computer science. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects that 854,000 new jobs will be created in the computer industry within the next six years, representing a 24.1 percent increase since 2006.
To learn more about the program, call the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at 660-543-4930.